China’s president now likes what he sees in Hong Kong
China had promised to keep Hong Kong’s way of life unchanged until 2047.
Critics say that ended 25 years early, with the draconian national security rule and the crushing of dissent.
But Mr Xi’s speech was surprising in his long term view of ‘One Country, Two Systems’.
“Hong Kong and Macau should maintain their capitalist system going forward for a long period of time, with a high level of autonomy,” the Chinese president said.
That suggests that One Country, Two Systems may endure beyond its 2047 expiry date.
Because as Mr Xi gazes out over Hong Kong, he now likes what he sees, what the National Security Law has accomplished.
In 2017, in his first visit to Hong Kong as Chinese leader, his tone was a lot more belligerent.
“Any attempt to endanger China’s sovereignty and security, challenge the power of the central government… or use Hong Kong to carry out infiltration and sabotage activities against the mainland is an act that crosses the red line and is absolutely impermissible,” he said then.
Now he believes that “challenge” has been seen off.
And the streets of Hong Kong attest to that.
In 2017, after Mr Xi’s speech, tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets, calling for greater democracy.
Five years later, the streets are silent.